19th Jul 2012
Days 120 - 122
That’s it. At long last the weather has broken. Grey, cloudy skies all day today – even thought about wearing trousers, but stuck with the shorts in the end.
Took a detour to get to the next campsite and drove via some minor roads. Although the countryside has been gently attractive, there’s a bit of an eery feel in places where there are empty shells of houses dotted around in the countryside. Most of them seem to be ‘leftovers’ from the war here, which apparently started in this part of Croatia. There are even some within the existing villages which sit incongruously next to well-appointed houses. I also have to say that the towns & villages we’ve seen have been less than attractive, comprising relentlessly drab rendered buildings with concrete tiled roofs. It’s the first time we’ve been off the tourist route through Croatia, so don’t know how typical this is of the rest of Croatia.
Anyway, we did find a lovely spot to stop for a brew next to a river and spotted a couple of kingfishers. Had a quick nosy around the town of Duga Resa near to the campsite and it turned out to be another drab place – the centre had very much an air of the Eastern Bloc about it – poorly maintained apartment blocks and monolithic town centre buildings.
Got to the campsite which is on a river too – would be lovely for swimming if the sun was out. Surprisingly crowded site – mainly Dutch here. Unfortunately, not much in the way of footpaths nearby, so not too good for Tirril.
Decided not to stay another night, and we’d found another riverside site not too far away, but in Slovenia, near the village of Primostek. Had a very scenic drive to get there although we got turned away at the first border crossing we went to. A guard came out of a little hut next to the river bridge and starting gravely shaking his head, pointing and grunting in Croatian. The gist of it was that we couldn’t cross there and had to go a few miles up river to the next bridge to cross.
So we eventually arrived in Slovenia and got to the campsite. There was immediately a sense of greater affluence here – the villages all seemed neat and tidy and the countryside well- tended. The campsite was really nice – and quiet – and only one Dutch couple there (who, of course, like all the Dutch we have come across, spoke very good English). Watched some storks flying overhead as we had our settling-in brew. Apparently they’ve been breeding here for the last 15 years or so.
Took Tirril for a stroll and swim along the river bank, and then did a way-marked trail around the local village. Along the way, we got hooted at from behind by a car coming along one of the small lanes through the village, and the elderly driver was evidently very amused by our jumping out of our skins! We took it in good part though, and a few hundred yards further on we saw him again walking into his house. He spotted us too, and immediately beckoned to us, jabbering away in Slovenian, but obviously wanting us to follow him.
Well, he didn’t look like a serial killer so we did. He proceeded to produce 3 wine glasses and poured us a glass of white wine from what appeared to be a micro-wine brewery (?). His house was surrounded by a field of vines and he evidently made his own – and very nice it was too. Well – two glasses of white wine, and one glass of red wine later – we slurred our farewells and got back onto our walk. Shortly after, we came across the storks’ nest – see photos for proof that it wasn’t just a magpie with long legs and a big beak. So it turned out to be quite an eventful walk and we felt we’d done quite enough by the time we got back to the van.
Philippa was up early to have a swim in the river in the morning sun. Apparently it’s the warmest river in Slovenia – and a lovely spot for a bit of gentle swimming around. That is until Tirril decided he wanted to join in and took to the river with a clumsy great splash. Still, it cooled him down for our drive back into Croatia, heading for Zagreb.
We went via another very scenic route that took us up into some mountains on a really windy (as in bendy) road. At the top near Budinjak was a small visitor centre and another way-marked walk past various archaeological features. It made a good walk for Tirril, and the two archaeological students who were there doing some digging enthusiastically showed us around the little exhibition they had at the centre. It was so out of the way there, I think it was a real novelty for them to have any visitors!
So, on to Zagreb. Found the scooter garage OK & left it with them. Then on to the hotel. It took a bit of finding as it was tucked away in a little courtyard off a main street – but in a really good location in the centre, but set far enough back from the main street to be reasonably quiet.
Left Tirril on guard duty in the (air conditioned!!) room, and had a quick tour around to get an idea of the lie of the land. Will do a bigger tour tomorrow.
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